Mr. Bucknuts' Bucket Of Bullets

How will the 2005 football season be remembered? Will it be for a 10-win team that brought home another big BCS win, or will it be for what could have been? That is one of the questions at hand in the latest Bucket of Bullets.

The Whines of Lore Valley…Yes, the past season has now passed into "lore", the telling and re-telling of which will consume small but important parts of our future lifetimes. Each football year, there are always a few distinguishing marks and memories that define the season. We can remember where we were or even important family moments by certain seasons and certain parts of those seasons. 1968 was a high point for me (national champs…). 1998 was a low point (the loss to MSU wrecked the high point). Etcetera.

 The "lore valley" from 2002? How about a national championship and the cartoon adventures of Maurice. 2003? Close-but-no-cigar with that tough loss to Wisconsin and a downer in Ann Arbor. 2004? It seemed like complete chaos until Troy Smith emerged and whupped Michigan and then overwhelmed an outclassed Cowboy team.

Now, we look back on 2005. What will be the "lore" memory (or memories) for you? Unfortunately, for me, I am hard-bitten and lopsided by cynicism. Therefore, the first blush of memories is painful: 1) The loss to Texas in a game OSU could have won by two touchdowns and 2) The loss at Happy Valley when they just weren't ready to play offense yet. Will those memories put the season into a 1998 kind of funk? Yeah, a little. They had a chance to make a statement. The 1998 team really never got a chance to atone, however. In 2005, they did. The Buckeyes won all the rest of the games and – despite numerous, gaffes, turnovers and mistakes. And they won out in style, getting better every week.

My "new memories" include the looks of befuddlement and buffoonery on the faces of Coach Carr and Coach Weis as they got that deer-in-the-headlights look glazing over them.

Hey – it wasn't such a bad year! Yeah, good times as I remember…

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Like Lemming to the sea…All of us at Bucknuts know there is something off with "The Mailman", self-proclaimed national recruiting guru and tireless self-promoter, Tom Lemming. He is an unabashed homer for Notre Dame, yet denies any favoritism. He derides kids for committing early and then pretends it has nothing to do with the fact that the early commits affect his business. Every year, the evidence mounts that Tom is guiding kids to Notre Dame and talking kids out of commitments to help with his commercial media play.

Well, this year, the hot water reached boiling and the Lemming meringue is showing on the Mailman's mug. After a close brush with being undressed in past years, it got worse in 2005. The following is an article addressing the particulars:

WASHINGTON One of the nation's top high school football players from last season says prominent recruiting analyst Tom Lemming told him he would be "showcased" and would increase his chances of being most valuable player in the annual U.S. Army All-American Bowl high school all-star game "if I kept a certain school on my (recruiting) list."

Myron Rolle, a Princeton, N.J., defensive back who already has enrolled at Florida State, made the remarks Monday morning to a public forum on the "Collegiate Athlete Experience" conducted at George Washington University by the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics. They came in response to a question about the recruiting process and also were carried live on a webcast. Approached afterward by USA TODAY, Rolle said the school in question was Notre Dame and reiterated his comments about Lemming, a national recruiting expert from Chicago whose information is used extensively by this newspaper.

"He told me if I kept Notre Dame in mind, the NBC (TV) guy would interview me and they would showcase me during the game," Rolle said. NBC, which showed the high school game in San Antonio on Jan. 7, also has a contract for Notre Dame home games. Added Rolle: "He told me I'd have a higher chance of being MVP. I took it as having less of a chance of getting MVP if I didn't keep Notre Dame on my list."

Rolle, who did not list Notre Dame among his six finalists, said Lemming told him this last spring. He also said Lemming tried to interest him in schools other than FSU, something he originally told ESPN The Magazine last summer. "He stepped out of the bounds of what he should be doing," said Rolle, who added that recruiting analysts should simply be gathering information.

He did not make first- or second-team USA TODAY All-USA. He is, however, currently the No. 1 prospect on Lemming's No. 1 is Chris Wells, an Akron, Ohio, running back who is expected to sign with Ohio State and was MVP in the U.S. Army game. Rolle said Wells deserved to be MVP.

Forget the questions we all have about the star systems for recruits. The real problem is when the recruiting analysts think that they are the stars…

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First for the second time…That is, I think this has been brought up before, but no one here (going through the archives…) can find any time in recruiting history when Ohio State landed the No. 1 football recruit in the nation. The Buckeyes have him this year in Chris Wells of Akron Garfield. Pretty neat, eh?

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Fielding a team…One way to measure how successful a recruiting season is (at least in the tired eyes of this quasi-authority…) is to gauge the dispersion of talent at all positions. That is, if you have six five-star nose tackles, it might add up to a "great class" on paper, but it doesn't help you win games. Unless one of those nose tackles is also a great quarterback…

To that end, let's use the "cover the positions" litmus test to check out Coach Tressel's ability to recruit all positions:

   Tailback: Chris Wells

   Fullback: Aram Olson

   Quarterback: Antonio Henton

   Wide receivers: Ray Small

   Tight ends/offensive linemen: Jake Ballard, Andy Miller, Connor Smith and Bryant Browning

   Defensive ends: Robert Rose and Walter Dublin

   Defensive tackle: Dexter Larimore

   Linebackers: Ross Homan, Tyler Moeller, Mark Johnson, Thaddeus Gibson and Larry Grant

   Safeties: Aaron Gant and Grant Schwartz

   Cornerbacks: Kurt Coleman and Chimdi Chekwa

In other words, almost ideal. If Chichester hadn't lost his spot (or if we had gotten Lyons, Matthews or McDaniel), and if Joe Thomas or Aaron Brown had come aboard, it would have hit every position. Plus, model Mark Johnson as a defensive end and move Dublin inside and…well, you get the picture.

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A full and gushing pipeline at Glenville…For those who think that Glenville has become a preparatory academy for OSU football, it is noteworthy to consider that the Tarblooders produced seniors that received 21 scholarships out of their last high school class! That is an incredible figure. Equally incredible is that 15 of them went to Division I schools and eight went to Big Ten schools (including three to Ohio State). An outstanding performance by Glenville, no doubt. But let's give it up for the guy who takes occasional criticism – in some circles. That's Ted Ginn Sr. He has 21 kids going to school on rides – in an area where too many kids seem to be going to the streets to look for work…

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And for the second time, a first…And we couldn't find anywhere in recorded Ohio State history where the Buckeyes landed the consensus No. 1 basketball player in the country, either. Next year, they will bring in Greg Oden from Lawrence North High School in Indiana. Also, a pretty neat time for the Buckeyes, eh?

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Sittin' round the Roundtable…It's a good thing I don't get paid for this job, as I am having entirely too much fun. More evidence to that thesis came a week ago when I hosted the first-ever "Bucknuts Recruiting Roundtable". This immodest effort corralled Duane Long, Dave Biddle, the Kirkster, Steve Helwagen and me to cuss and discuss recruits and recruiting methods. We then brought on national guru Allan Wallace from California and the head of's recruiting operation from Atlanta. Finally, we tied in that old maverick, Gary Housteau for his unique opinions.

Yes, there was some of the same-old same-old, but mostly it was a spirited discussion; kind of like you would have in a bar, without the distractions or the inevitable fist fights. Look for the next internet-only-radio-format "Bucknuts Recruiting Roundtable" coming to you on March 16. We will have Duane Long and Bill Conley face off and we hope to debut that desert rat, Nevada Buck.

Stay tuned…

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And for the final time, two firsts…So after speculating on Chris Wells and Greg Oden coming in (in the same year), has any school ever had the #1 basketball player and #1 football player come in – in the same year? I don't think so…

It's a great time to be a Buckeye. And the recruits seem to agree!

And if you agree, or disagree, and want to be heard about it, follow that heard instinct to Mr. Bucknuts at

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